When it comes to providing services to members, their expectations about what they can or cannot do with the services you've given them is critical. Regardless of the channel, you must support the baseline expectations of your members. If you do not, you will disappoint, and potentially lose, members. If you exceed those expectations then you can delight, and potentially increase adoption and usage of desired services, along with member satisfaction and loyalty.
Sounds simple, but there's a challenge. Members' expectations shift and change over time, and there is no better example of this than in mobile banking.
A couple of years ago, if you asked members what types of functionality they expected from mobile banking, it wasn't much. Short message service or text alerts, balance checks, and account-to-account transfers were about it.
Now, members expect more -- richer experiences and deeper functionality. Why? Because they are now exposed to a variety of mobile services that provide this on a daily basis. The baseline has changed.
Additionally, Fiserv research has shown that members expect banking channels to be consistent. Providing a solution through which the account balance shown in mobile banking is the same as what is shown in online banking , or a change to payee details made online is also reflected via mobile, is not a little thing. Failure to provide this type of consistency is a huge detractor and annoyance. So, even if you have different back-end systems that power your member-facing channels, it is essential that they be kept in sync.
At the same time, credit unions should understand and embrace the differences between mobile and online. They are distinctly different channels. Mobile is not a "mini" version of an online site. Members have a completely different context of use for each channel. Mobile interactions are typically quick and frequent, and credit unions should focus on providing functionality for "moments of truth" when users are on the move, such as when they are about to overdraw or forgot to pay a bill.
Online interactions provide the opportunity for members to do a deeper dive into their finances, and credit unions should focus on providing a more holistic experience using personal financial management and planning tools.
To paraphrase Clint Eastwood, you've got to know your (channel's) limitations. Some things just don't work in the mobile channel, and many features don't align to the aforementioned context of use. Features that make perfect sense online may not make sense in a mobile context. The key is to align the member expectations with the channel they are using.
Specialized features such as adding an international payee may be a desirable feature for online banking but is probably not appropriate to the mobile space unless the process can be simplified to fit the context of the mobile channel. And then there are features such as scanning receipts and linking them with transactions and expenses. Such a process may be cumbersome online but may be simple and appropriate to provide in a mobile app.
You can ensure that you are providing solutions that make sense by researching members and understanding how they use different channels. Knowing your members is essential to providing the right solutions in the right place, and adds value to their relationship. It will also allow you to avoid introducing services that go unused. Usability research can help you determine what members need and want.
Joseph Dickerson is a user experience architect for Fiserv Inc.